One of the neat things about Facebook, now that it has been around for a while and become ingrained in how we communicate, is that we have now developed a history through that particular medium. And Facebook has noted this, and has an “On This Day” feature that allows you to look back on posts from previous years on that particular day.
I like to check it out for all of the good nostalgia it brings–what I was doing or thinking on a particular day, older photos of my kids, etc. It allows you to relive events as well: recently I have lived through one of my past surgeries, my trip to Israel and Palestine two years ago, and my award, one year ago, when I was named one of America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis by the Forward.
The other day I was scrolling through my past posts and I came across something I had completely forgotten about: my first blog. Prior to establishing this blog, Rabbi 360, and truly committing to writing regularly, I had an earlier attempt at blogging at a blog I called Olyrabbi. I made a good first effort, but then petered out for reasons I can’t recall. My only guess is that at that time I wasn’t up to the challenge and the discipline of writing weekly which I wholly embrace today.
This past week I had posted something and shared it to Facebook, so it turned up on the history for that day. So I clicked over and read it. There is something interesting to looking at pictures or reading status updates from the past, it is another thing to go back and read whole essays.
For one, the context is different, and reading an older post (from 2009) refers to a different historical situation (in this case, the recession). We were living in different times eight years ago. Yet on the other hand, rereading it revealed ways that Torah is timeless, that it speaks to us irrespective of the specific context we are living in. The deeper values shine forth, subject to how we may wish to interpret it.
But you can judge for yourself. Here is a my post from my old blog from 2009 on this week’s Torah portion, Behar:
What stays in the past, and what carries forward in the future? The Facebook feature guarantees that we will carry our past forward with us. But there is value in looking back as a means of looking forward.